Conservative evangelical men and their modestly dressed and coiffed helpmeets mean to save us from Harry Potter, sex, divorce, and most choice and autonomy in a decadent culture, oh, and from virtual charters and hell of course.
Liberal, feminist, childless women call themselves our champions and defenders too, demand choice and equity in our name but define it as artificial institutional and governmental controls over actual women and our children (because we are homeschoolers, doncha know — if we weren’t, we could be at the controls with them, calling the shots for all the other women.)
Amanda Marcotte kicked off this summer’s definition games from the liberal extreme (Mean Girls Who Rule the School With a Phalanx of Gal Pals needn’t be over at Gena’s HSB beating babies with Bibles) and now a CA lawyer with a grant (childlesss herself, I’ll bet) picks up the infuriating (and poorly argued imo — but then what do I know, I’m oppressed and clutching the chains that bind me) theme in the grand tradition of Rob Reich and Michael Apple.
If public education is the best way to build liberal community and further democratic values (like personal liberty from government?) then why doesn’t society enjoy gender equity and autonomy by now, for all women and children? Compulsory schooling of “liberal” social values has had more than 50 years to make it so. How much more money and time must generations of taxpayers invest to finally get these fabulous benefits?
I once bought into public education as progressive and children as FTEs (when I was young and childless and vested in the public schools) but I’ve learned a lot since then. I never stopped thinking and exploring and analyzing, or being a feminist and raising my son and daughter to be, for that matter. But I see no willingness to even acknowledge that question among young feminism.
That’s disheartening for an old feminist like me — wouldn’t an intellectually curious, liberal and independent mind have noticed that and wondered by now, if just maybe public education might be liberal problem rather than liberal panacea? Or at least realize it’s likely both, with standardization and government compulsion being its least liberal construct if not its fatal flaw?
You’d think educated, socially valuable and politically empowered young feminism would be eagerly tackling these questions, in the name of sharing their social progress and liberty for all women and children, rather than tilting at homeschool mom windmills? You would be wrong. (Don’t ask me to explain this, I’m just unpaid domestic labor not even getting a welfare check from the government much less a corporate paycheck, what could I possibly know?)
COD and Daryl are on the case and Scott has been summoned. More later. Looks like this is gonna be another long, hot summer of skirmishes in the Involuntary Redefinition of Other Women Wars.